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Naxos

Naxos is the largest island (428 sq. km.) in the Cyclades island group which lies between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. The island was part of classical Greek culture and is part of Greece today. It is a popular tourist destination with easily accessible ruins. One set of ruins is what is left of a temple built on a rocky beach. Long ago there was an earthquake sending most of the temple into the sea. Still standing however are two columns with a single lintel across them. The remains of the structure resting in the sea can be seen from the shore and swam amongst.

Naxos has many very beautiful beaches, like the ones at Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Alikos, Castraki, Mikri Vigla, Plaka and Agios Georgios at Hora[?], the capital of the island, which has 7,000 inhabitants.

Naxos is famous as the most fertile island of the Cyclades. It has a good supply of water in an area where water is usually inadequate. The Mount Zas (1004 meters) is the highest peak in the Aegean Sea, and it tends to trap the clouds, permitting greater rainfall.

Homer mentions Naxos under the name "Dia". According to mythology, on this island Theseus abandoned princess Ariadne, daughter of Minos, king of Crete, after she helped him kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth. Dionysus, god of the island and protector of wine, festivities and cheerfulness, met her and fell in love with her. But Ariadne, unable to bear the separation from Theseus, killed herself.

During the 13th century the island was conquered by the Venetian Marco Sanudo. He created the Grand Duchy of Naxia, which included Naxos and other islands of the area. The Venetians were replaced by the Turks, who conquered and plundered the island. The Turkish sovereignty lasted until 1821 when the island revolted and finally became a member of the Greek state in 1932.



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